Monthly Archives: November 2011

Trial in the context of my thesis and IntelLEO

Since in the mid of the October, we are conducting a trial in the IntelLEO project and this trial is directly connected with my thesis. I even hoped to get the main data-set from this trial. Trial has got too aims: testing the technology-supported theoretical learning and knowledge building model (SECI phases) and to test the full-prototypes of IntelLEO tools.

The beginning of the testing has been hard. More than months of activities and actually from the project aspect we have nothing done yet, because technology has let us down repeatedly. Quite difficult technological tools, concept of learning paths and public reflections have influenced the teachers’ motivation a lot. Several times I have spent my nights wondering how to motivate teachers to continue, because out of 23 teachers six have left. I have also thinking should we design second trial, but how to do it. It has been very stressful – on one hand scaffolding teachers and on the other hand keep testing the system, identifying the bugs and to constantly thinking shall I get something for my thesis or not.

Same time I’m conducting meta-study about SECI model for one doctoral compendium. I studied more than 60 papers about SECI model and only 19 of them used empirical testing in their studies, rest of them were conceptual papers. Most of these 19 studies used observations of workplace processes and questionnaires to study if the SECI processes take place in organization. That made me quite excited, because our study seems to be therefore quite innovative – we analyze the system (log-information) in order to analyze how much teachers create learning assets, learn from each other, socialize, collaboratively work together etc.

And few days ago I discovered that 4-5 one out of my 17 teachers have opened up – they have hit the point and all SECI phases have started to occur and it has become exciting for them. So, from the project aspect, I don’t have anything positive to say yet, we have not started to use right technologies yet. But from my thesis aspect, I feel like I won the prize – if to scaffold them, facilitate, explain, direct, support – then finally it starts working and they spontaneously performed the actions that I even did not dare to hope. Good!

Different perceptions about e-portfolio and PLE

Yesterday I had small chat with my colleagues from research group, mostly about e-portfolios. E-portfolio has been part of my work for several years and plays important part in my PhD thesis. I don’t consider myself as expert, but I feel quite confident about using e-portfolios for professional development.

But yesterday it seemed to me that my colleagues consider PLE (personal learning environment) and e-portfolio as something completely different. For the e-portfolio, I use the definition provided by the Helen Barrett: e-portfolio is an electronic collection of evidences that shows one’s learning journey over time and which can relate to specific academic fields or one’s lifelong learning. Learning journey can be seen as one’s formal and informal learning over period of time, it includes the developed or gathered resources, social networks and evidences of one’s competencies. These evidences may include written documents, photos, videos, reports on research projects, observations by mentors and peers, and self-reflections on one’s own professional activities. Barrett emphasizes the key aspect of an e-portfolio: reflection on the collected evidences, such as why it was chosen and what one learned from the process of developing e-portfolio.
And the connection between the e-portfolio and PLE has been done by the Attwell quite well who sees e-portfolio as the DNA of the PLE. And I have defined PLE for myself based on Fiedler & Pata who defined PLE as concept that entails all the instruments, materials and human resources that an individual is aware of and has access to in the context of an educational project at a given point in time..
So based on that – PLE is a concept and e-portfolio is like an implementation of it.

My colleague said yesterday that important, almost like compulsory part of e-portfolio is the possibility to connect the content of e-portfolio with the competences. Yes, I agree with that. In the context of my thesis and teacher training we have strong emphasize on competence development in e-portfolio. But I also think that if competences are missing in my e-portfolio, that does not mean that my e-portfolio is somehow less good. Workplace learning does not include competences in many areas, but it does not mean that workers should not document their development in e-portfolio and provide evidences to that. Evidences is important part of e-portfolio from my aspect. It is not just blogging that I have reached to that point by now and I did well, but I have to add some evidences as well. It is important when I apply for scholarship or other position at work – I present my dynamically up-dated e-portfolio with reflections and evidences.

Another argument of my colleague was that e-portfolio should include feedback from mentor. I also agree that it would be nice to have always the feedback from someone, but actually I update my portfolio for myself. I can’t expect that I have always readers and in case I have them, I can’t expect that they have always something to tell me. I would appreciate if my supervisor always comments me here, but even more satisfaction would be the case if some stranger or unexpected visitor of my blog would like to discuss something with me. So, I think that feedback is nice part of the e-portfolio, but generally I’ll do it myself and must-be comments would not make me feel better, rather spontaneous comments would be interesting.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that although we are one very well-working reserach group and we have managed to connect our individual expert areas to one whole. But still there seems to be some prejudices or misunderstandings. It would be probably important to combine our expert areas in articles with those colleagues that we usually don’t work together and try to understand each other more.

Update
We continued our little discussion after having comments here. And something that Hans said, made me quite worried. He compared the discussion around the e-portfolio with the discussion around learning objects – one hand every piece of material could be considered as learning object. On the other hand the quality becomes poor and transferring learning objects to repositories becomes impossible, therefore we talk about metadata etc of learning objects. And he asked, maybe the standards of e-portfolio should be therefore set in order to keep the quality and importing the e-portfolio from one system to other becomes easier. I see the point actually, although I don’t like the idea that my e-portfolio should be developed with the specific e-portfolio software.

It is really good to have such discussions, it was not arguing, it was friendly discussion which led me to the understanding that I should study more e-portfolio 🙂

Doktoriõppe viimased kursused lõppemas

Mu hullumeelne semester, kus lisaks teadustööle ja õppetööle, võtsin endale ka veel kursuseid, hakkab vaikselt rahunemise märke näitama. Nüüdseks olen lõpetanud kaks kursust ära ja ühes tuleb esitada veel artikkel.

Üks kursus, praktiline teadusloome, oli mul veebipõhises vormis. Lugesin läbi õppematerjalid ning esitasin iseseisvad ülesanded. Tundub, et sellest piisab. Ma sain kaaslastelt tagasisidet, et tegemist on kursusega, mida tasuks võtta I kursuse jooksul, hiljem pole sellest nii suurt kasu. Ilmselt on neil õigus, samas pean kahetsusega tunnistama, et doktorandina olin ma kasutanud väga vähe erinevaid teaduslikke andmebaase oma töös, liigagi vähe. Praktiline töö, mis keskendus erinevate andmebaaside kasutamisele haris mind kindlasti, ma ei kujutanud isegi ette, et sellised võimalused on. Karta on, et ma võib olla lähenesin tööle pisut pealiskaudselt, kuna muus osas oli kõik ju lihtne ning ma ei saa salata, et sellest ainete blokist, kuhu aine kuulus, oli mul vaja mingi kursus võtta.

Tunduvalt rohkem kõnetasid mind kaks järgmist kursust. Ühe neist valisin, et teha endale väljakutse – osaleda kursusel, mis on ülesehitatud ebatraditsiooniliselt ning rühmatööde peale ning teise sellepärast, et see on mulle intellektuaalselt täielik eneseületamine.

Kursus kõrgkoolididaktika tekitas minus vastakaid tundeid ja segadust ja ma ei osanud seda esimese kahe kontakttunni jooksul sõnastada, miks see nii oli. Ausalt öeldes ei oska ka praegugi, aga see segadus on kadunud. Kuna kursus oli nii teistsugune – kasutatud oli väga palju erinevaid õppemeetodeid, kursusel oli kaks õppejõudu, palju oli rühmatööd ja rääkimist, analüüsimist ja peegeldamist. Kõik see, mida ma üldjuhul kardan ja pelgan ja võimalusel jätaks vahele. Kuna kursusel loodi ülimalt hästi rühmatunne ning lisaks olen ma osade kaaslastega ka ühes teises loengus koos, kadus mul hämmastavalt kiiresti hirm eksida ja olla rumal. Samas tundsin pikka aega survet pingutada, et näida rühmatöös aktiivne, sest kui ma ei räägi ja ei tee, siis teised äkki arvavad, et ma olen passiivne. Mitte, et ma kardan.

Teisalt kõnetas see kursus mind selles võtmes, et ma olen nii öelda tagant uksest sisse tulnud õppejõud, isehakanu, kelle kogemused on suhteliselt väikesed ning igasugused tõlgendused põhinevad kogemusel. Sel kursusel kogetu, räägitu ja kuuldu tõttu sain ma nagu teoreetilise aluse oma olukordadele. Ma sain täiesti selgelt aru, millised vead ma olen juba teinud (ja teist korda sel sügisel) oma juhendatavatega – meie kokkulepped nii töö protsessi, kvaliteedi, tähtaegade jms on täiesti tegemata, mis võib mind kevadel viia samasse olukorda, kus olime sel kevadel, et juhendaja on nördinud ja juhendatatav samuti, sest juhendaja ootas palju, aga juhendataval polnud üldse plaani esmaklassiline töö esitada. See on vaid üks näide sellest, et kui me tihti kipume mõtlema, et ma tean juba kõike ja ma õpin kogemusest ja nii edasi, siis tegelikult see nii ei ole. See kursus ei jookse mööda külge maha ka kõige kogenenumal, sest see paneb sind mõtlema oma töö peale, oma õppimise peale, oma õpetamise peale. Minu uurimisrühm ka räägib õppimisest ja teab kõiki teoreetilisi lähtekohti sellele, aga kas keegi ka vahel ka oma õppimise peale mõtleb metakognitiivselt?

Sama suure väljakutse esitas mulle haridusfilosoofia. See kursus on selgelt minu intellektuaalsele tasemele liig. Mul oli keskkoolis natuke filosoofiat, kuid üldiselt on mul lünk, eriti mis puudutab kasvatusteaduste filosoofiat. Ning kuigi mul oli võimalus mõni teine aine ka valida, tundsin ma, et ma vean alt, kui ma neist mugavusainetest ei loobu. Kursusel oli kaks väga rasket ülesannet minu jaoks. Esimene, kui ma pidin sõnastama, mis on minu doktoritöö filosoofiline alus…Ma ei tea, kas ma vastasin õigesti või valesti ja ma olen võimeline seda siia avalikku veebiruumi kirja panema.
Teine on artikkel minu doktoritöö teemal mingil filosoofilisel küsimusel. Õppejõu soovitusel kirjutan ma tehnoloogia vastasseisust ja kuivõrd põhjendatud see on. Kuna õpetajad minu doktoritöö raames on natuke tehnoloogia vastu ja seda on käsitlenud näiteks ka Heiddeger, siis ma peaksin 3-4 lk mahus seda küsimust arutama. See on raudselt minu doktoriõpingute kõige raskem asi ja irooniliselt on see mu doktoriõpingute viimane kohustuslik aine. Kiidan end, et ma seda kurusust 1.-2. kursusel ei võtnud, kuna siis ma poleks osanud seda üldse oma doktoritöö konteksti viia.